Chandragupta, who founded the Mauryan Dynasty, had his capital at Pataliputra, near present-day Patna in Bihar. His administration was described in the Arthasastra, a treatise on governmentand economics ascribed to his chief Brahman adviser, Kautilya, who is sometimes described asthe intellectual precursor of Niccolo Machiavelli. The Mauryan state supervised and taxedcultivation, irrigation, mining, crafts, textiles, and trade. A large standing army was maintained atroyal expense, as was a well-developed espionage system. Administrative officers were assistedby large staffs; cash salaries were specified. Provinces, districts, and villages were governed by ahierarchy of offficials, mostly drawn from the local notables but under the supervision of centralgovernors and inspectors . Cities and towns also had their own officials responsible forcleanliness, fire protection, the welfare of foreigners, the registration of births and deaths, and thecollection of taxes. The systems of land revenue adopted by later centralized empires, includingthe Mughal, harked back to the Mauryan model.Military expansion was called to a halt by Asoka, grandson of Chandragupta, once he hadsubdued the powerful kingdom of Kalinga in the southeast. Thereafter, Asoka expounded a newtheory of social responsibility, or dhamma, as the basis for his empire. Dhamma owed much toBuddhism, which the emperor embraced as his personal religion and which he encouragedthrough his patronage of the monastic orders and his designation of Buddhist monks asmissionaries-cum-ambassadors to feudatories and neighboring states. Asoka's politicalphilosophy and laws were epitomized in his edicts, which were inscribed on pillars and rocksurfaces located at the nodal points and outer reaches of his empire. The edicts spelled out moralprinciples of humanitarianism in conduct, including nonviolence and the tolerance of differences,to which all people could and should subscribe. They also proclaimed the emperor's decision torenounce force and to rule his domains through compassion and dhamma.Asoka's intentions were noble; they were also realistic in a heterodox empire where fanaticismscould be fatal. But he provided no institutions capable of carrying on a centralized administration.Recruitment of officials was not placed on a meritocratic or examination system, as in China.Loyalty was focused on the emperor's person and was quickly supplanted after his death. Strainson the treasury were heavy, and currency became debased in the later Mauryan times. Within100 years of his death, Asoka's empire had dwindled back to Magadha.The political map of the subcontinent again became a mosaic of kingdoms with fluctuatingboundaries. Yet the same centuries bridging the change of millennium saw enormous growth andsyncreticism in intellectual, artistic, and economic life. Organizations of trade guilds, merchantasking houses, and caste tribunals gained privilege, autonomy, and wealth. Undoubtedly, theyprovided the social stability and institutional continuity that allowed cultural and economicblossoming to take place despite political fragmentation. Moreover, during these centuriesinteraction with other parts of the world was high and trade correspondingly lucrative. The Hindusocial system was flexible enough in practice to accommodate within itself both new immigrantsand older tribes without a change of theory.